By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Santino Ferrucci threw his car off the road during Saturday’s qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg but a solid run saw the Connecticut native climb to ninth place during the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season opener.
The No. 19 David Yurman Honda for Dale Coyne Racing hovered around 13th-14th place during the first couple of stints in the race after the last full course yellow ended but Ferrucci managed to get into tenth place following the final round of pit stops and ended the race in ninth place.
Ferrucci gained the most positions of anybody in the field and credits his team for helping make it happen.
“We were struggling all weekend long,” said Ferrucci. “We found something in morning warmup, if it wasn’t for a small mishap in qualifying we probably could’ve had something better. We had a fantastic crew of engineers, we had a great pit stop and we kept it out there, made ends meet and stuck it in the top ten.
“It’s nice to stick it in the top 10 and have a result like that to start off the year so I can’t complain about that.”
Expectations weren’t exactly high for Ferrucci. He finished 11th at last year’s season-ending race at Sonoma which was his best finish last season. After three other finishes of 20th, 20th and 22nd, Ferrucci didn’t exactly have high expectations heading into the 110 lap race.
“Realistically I thought if I could make it through Turn 1 we could finish 15th but to make it into the top 10, when you’re driving and you know it’s there, you get that little extra 10 percent out of your body and you can make it happen.”